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HMO Licensing - What does it mean?

Useful information on licensing an HMO property.

An HMO licence holder must ensure compliance with the Hillingdon HMO Amenity Standards 2015 and Management Regulations [266kb]. Whilst applicants must read the standards and regulations document in full, here is an easy to read  Hillingdon HMO Minimum Standards Checklist [189kb]. The council's housing officers have limited time to give informal advice to persons wishing to convert a property to HMO use or apply for a licence, so applicants are encouraged to read the information and documents on this website as all the information required will be found there. An applicant can request a site visit if they wish a council officer to provide advice about what is required, but this visit will attract a fee of £150.

Why are HMO licenses needed?

Larger HMOs tend to have poorer physical conditions and management standards than other privately rented properties and people who live in HMOs are often amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. As HMOs are the only housing option for many people, the government recognises that it is vital that they are properly regulated.

The Housing Act 2004 introduced mandatory licensing throughout the whole of England for HMOs which:

  • are three or more storeys high
  • have five or more occupants (in more than one household)
  • have shared amenities such as bathrooms, WCs and kitchen facilities, or the living accommodation is not wholly self-contained

 Hillingdon Council operates an additional HMO licensing scheme for HMOs which:

  • are two storeys high
  • have five or more occupants (in more than one household)
  • have shared amenities such as bathrooms, WCs and kitchen facilities, or the living accommodation is not wholly self-contained
  • are situated within the south of the borough ( see attached map [1Mb]) or access the online mapping system​ »

Owners and managers of HMOs also need to make sure they have planning permission if they sub-divide a house into self-contained units or change the use of a house from a single dwelling to an HMO withs even or more occupiers.Change of use to HMO for up to 6 occupiers does not require planning permission, except in Uxbridge South and Brunel wards where planning permission is required for change of use to HMO.  Access the online mapping system​ »

What is included as a "storey"

The following shall be included as a storey when determining how many storeys the HMO (or any part of it) comprises:

  1. a basement or attic if:
    • it is used wholly or partly as living accommodation
    • it has been constructed, converted or adapted for use wholly or partly as living accommodation
    • it is being used in connection with, and as an integral part of, the HMO; or
    • it is the only or principal entry into the HMO from the street (in the case of a basement)
  2. where the living accommodation is situated in a part of a building above or below business premises, each storey comprising the business premises
  3. any mezzanine floor which is used wholly or mainly as, or in connection with, living accommodation; and
  4. any other storey that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation or in connection with, or as an integral part of, the HMO

What is the aim of HMO licensing?

HMO licensing is intended to make sure that:

  • owners and managers of HMOs are fit and proper people
  • the HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • the standard of management of the HMO is adequate
  • all HMO's within the borough are safe to live in
  • good practice is encouraged and
  • accommodation is good quality and well managed

What does an HMO licence require?

For an HMO to be suitable for occupation for a specified number of people the council will assess the number, type and quality of

  • bathrooms, WCs, washbasins
  • food storage, preparation and cooking facilities
  • gas and electrical safety and fire precautions

The council will carry out checks to make sure that the person applying for the licence is a fit and proper person, taking into account

  • any previous criminal convictions or convictions relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • previously managed HMOs that have failed to comply with required minimum standards

There will be a number of conditions in HMO licences, such as:

  • provide to the council annually for inspection an up-to-date gas safety certificate 
  • keep electrical appliances and furniture in a safe condition
  • ensure that smoke alarms are installed in the HMO and are kept in proper working order and make declarations to this effect to the council
  • providing adequate information to tenants about the owner and manager of the HMO in the form of a tenancy agreement
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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 01 Nov 2017 at 11:21